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March 14, 2019 City Council Regular Meeting
11. Motion to Rezone 703 Louisville Road from P-RIP-D with a GDP and I-H to P-RIP-D with a GDP (Petitioner: WEDP Fund I, LLC)
Strategic Priority
Neighborhood Revitalization

The Mayor & Aldermen approved this request at the February 28, 2019 City Council Regular Meeting.  The action being considered now is the approval of an ordinance for the rezoning of 703 Louisville Road to P-RIP-D with a General Development Plan.

This is the second of two related agenda items.  The first is to change the Future Land Use Map Category for the subject site.

A small typo in the approved General Development Plan (GDP) dated February 26, 2018 was discovered.  The typo involves an angle that is slightly off, so it does not affect anything material or change the footprint of the GDP that was proposed last week and approved by the Mayor & Aldermen.  However, in order to make the GDP consistent with the most recent ALTA survey of the property, the GDP was fixed to correct the typo.

Additionally, the GDP was revised to include the development notes that were requested by the Planning Commission:

  1. Unit Mix: The anticipated unit mix for the project (subject to change based on marked conditions and design) will be 26 3-BDRM units, 102 2-BBRM units, 76 1-BDRM units, and 51 studio units;
  2. Greenspace: WEDP is aware of the 20% greenspace requirement and will comply with such requirement. WEDP's compliance plan for greenspace will be finalized in connection with its submittal of a specific development plan;
  3. Stormwater: WEDP is aware of both the storrmwater ordinance and the flood protection ordinance and will comply with both ordinances. WEDP's compliance plan will be finalized in connection with its submittal of a specific development plan;
  4. Elevations and Renderings: WEDP will provide detailed concept elevations and renderings in connection with its submittal of a specific development plan;
  5. Re-Purposing Historic Materials: WEDP plans to relocate the "Head House" of the Freight Depot Building intact to the Northeast corner of the property. WEDP will also use its best efforts to partially deconstruct the remainder of the building in order to make available all historic materials for re-purposing to the extent possible. This includes bricks, ironwork, and any salvageable materials;
  6. Documentation: WEDP is aware of the MPC's Policy for Documenting Buildings Prior to Demolition and will comply fully with that policy. This includes providing the MPC Preservation Department, for its review and approval, the following: photographs, a scaled site plan, scaled floored plans, and scaled exterior elevations. Prior to demolishing any portion of the building, WEDP will work with the MPC Preservation Department to secure its approval of such item and ensure its compliance with the MPC's Policy.

The petitioner, WEDP Fund I, LLC, is requesting approval to rezone 703 Louisville Road and an unassigned land from its existing P-RIP-D* (Planned Medium-Density Residential with a General Development Plan) and I-H (Heavy Industrial) Zoning District to a P-RIP-D *(Planned Medium-Density Residential with a General Development Plan) Zoning District.

The RIP-D Zoning District only has two development standards: a maximum building coverage of 75% and a maximum density of 100 dwelling units per net acre.  The RIP-D Zoning District does not require any setbacks and does not have a maximum height.

The GDP proposes a building coverage of 73% and a density of 100 dwelling units per acre.

The subject site is located in the Laurel Grove/Railroad Area neighborhood.  The 2.55-acre site is an irregular-shaped parcel that is developed with a former freight terminal building constructed in 1929. The property is surrounded by four rights-of-way: Louisville Road to the north; the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal to the east and south; and an off-ramp from U.S. Hwy 17 to the west.  The Savannah Historic District is approximately 200 feet to the east at West Boundary Street.

On November 22, 2016, City Council approved the request to rezone the original 1.64-acre parcel from I-H to P-RIP-D in conjunction with a general development plan for a 140-unit student housing development, which was never constructed (File no. 16-001421-ZA).

On February 1, 2018, under Petition No. 170519 (18-000142-PET), the City Council approved a request to “formally abandon, release, and quitclaim a 20-foot prescriptive drainage easement” on the Property, which was recorded in the Office of the Clerk of Chatham Superior Court in Deed Book 1274, Pages 7-15.

On November 20, 2018, City Council declared the excess Right-of-way around 703 Louisville Road as surplus and awarded the sale of the surplus property to the applicant.

Approximately 0.91-acres of the site adjacent to the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal is owned by the City of Savannah; the petitioner has entered into a Development Agreement with the City to purchase this parcel (“surplus parcel”) and combine it with the original parcel to accommodate the proposed development.  At this time, the surplus parcel does not have a PIN number assigned to it but does retain an I-H (Heavy Industrial) zoning designation.

The General Development Plan, in review under Site Development Permit No. 18-10055 and Plan No. 18-006368, proposes a 7-story building with 255 apartments and 357 off-street parking spaces.  The recombination of 703 Louisville Road with the City's surplus parcel is in review under Subdivision/Plat No. 18-006887.

The existing I-H zoning district is not an appropriate zoning district for the surplus parcel; its proximity to downtown, the Historic District and location within the Canal District suggests that it should be part of the Downtown Expansion area on the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map.  According to the comprehensive plan, this classification should provide for “…a vibrant mix of retail, office, entertainment, institutional, civic and residential uses with a high degree of connectivity to the central business district.”  The RIP-D permits uses that could support this mix.

On January 29, 2019 the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the rezoning request, in conjunction with a General Development Plan, by applying the “extraordinary and unusual” provision of Sec. 8-3031(D)(1)(a) subject to the following conditions:

  1. Provide the anticipated unit mix (number of bedrooms);
  2. Clarify how the minimum 20% greenspace requirement will be satisfied;
  3. Clarify the type of green infrastructure/low-impact stormwater management techniques to be utilized;
  4. Present concept building elevations and renderings to the Planning Commission;
  5. Incorporate some aspect of the historic building (i.e.. historic bricks, sign, etc.) into the design of the new building and allow for historic materials to be salvaged; and
  6. Comply with the MPC’s policy document for documenting buildings prior to demolition. (MPC’s Policy Document for Documenting Buildings Prior to Demolition)


Bridget Lidy, Planning and Urban Design Director
Financial Impact
Review Comments
Exhibit 1: Planning Commission Recommendation - 703 Louisville Rd (Rezoning with GDP).pdf
Exhibit 2: GDP as Approved by the Planning Commission - 703 Louisville Rd.pdf
Exhibit 3: GDP as Approved by the Mayor and Aldermen - 703 Louisville Rd.pdf
Exhibit 4: GDP Revision Request - 703 Louisville Rd.pdf
Exhibit 5: 703 Louisville Rd Draft Ordinance.pdf
Exhibit 6: 703 Louisville Rd 20190228 PowerPoint Presentation.pdf
Exhibit 7: ALTA Survey of City Surplus Parcel.pdf
Exhibit 8: Development Agreement for City Surplus Parcel.pdf
Exhibit 9: 703 Louisville Rd 20190307 DRAFT Recombination Survey.pdf
Exhibit 10: Aerial Map.pdf
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